Competition floral display by Houghall student

Houghall Students Win Big At North East Floristry Competition

East Durham College is celebrating as a group of its students saw their skills bloom at a regional floristry competition.

Floristry students from East Durham College’s Houghall campus travelled to Newcastle Racecourse to compete in last week’s 2017 North East Culinary and Trade Association (NECTA) competitions, returning with an impressive five first places out of a possible seven, whilst also adding one second and one third place finish to complete the haul of seven medals.

Houghall floristry student Allan Raby
Allan Raby with his award winning
Delphinium and lemons display

East Durham College, floristry lecturer, Sue Lee, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for the students here at the college.

“The standard of competition on the day was very impressive from everyone taking part, but it was great to see our students’ hard work pay off, impressing the judges with some fantastic pieces of floral work.”

Hannah O’Connelley, 19, from Sherburn Hill near Durham, took first place in the contract design category, where students had to create a display for a restaurant predominately using fresh flowers and foliage.

Sue Elsdon, 47, from Chester-le-Street, was awarded top spot in the table centre category; where the brief was to design and construct a themed table centre for an anniversary to include accessories, fresh flowers and foliage.

Meanwhile Allan Raby, 49, from Thornaby on Teesside, added to the first places with his buffet table design as well as picking up a second place in the floral design category, which was won by fellow East Durham College student Jessica Langley, 26, from Yarm.

Sue Elsdon with her Yellow Calla Lilies and orange Birds of Paradise display
Sue Elsdon with her yellow Calla Lilies
and Birds of Paradise display

Zoe Blythyn, 19, from Haswell near Durham, won the college’s fifth gold award in the live display class. In this category students were presented with a number of mystery items and had to create a spontaneous display on the day.

Elizabeth Thompson, 19, from Consett, completed the top three finishes with a bronze in the table centre category.

Sue added: “This event has been a huge confidence boost for the students.

“The work they complete on their courses is always of a high standard, but competing in these competitions pushed the students in a different way, helping to further develop their skills and confidence.

“And after these brilliant achievements, we will now look to get the group prepared to compete in further competitions this year, including WorldSkills and the prestigious Harrogate Flower Show.”

In June, Hannah O’Connelley and Eve Bennett-Townsend will travel down to Bridgewater & Taunton College in Somerset to compete in The Smithers Oasis® Floral Products 2017 College Competition finals which they qualified for back in January.

For more information on courses in floristry at East Durham College’s Houghall Campus, please visit the floristry courses section of the website or contact our student services team on 0191 375 4710.